Bowman Hendry McCalla (1844-1910) was born in Camden, New Jersey. McCalla was appointed a midshipman in 1861. In 1885, he led an expeditionary force of 750 seamen and Marines in Panama to protect American treaty rights as a revolution there threatened to block transit across the isthmus. In 1897, while commanding Marblehead in blockading Cuba, he cut cables to isolate the Spanish garrison at Cienfuegos. On 10 June 1898, with Lieutenant Colonel Robert Huntington, USMC, Commander McCalla led a joint Navy and Marine Corps expedition into Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, seizing the anchorage and thereby enabling a close blockade of Spanish warships at Santiago de Cuba, about forty miles west. Commanding the Newark during the Boxer Rebellion, he was second in command of an international force under British Admiral Sir Edward Seymour, including 112 bluejackets, that advanced from Tientsin to Peking to relieve foreign legations under siege there. In battle at Hsiku Arsenal, McCalla and 25 of his force were wounded; five were killed. For this action, he received a Congressional medal, the Order of the Red Eagle by the German Emperor, and another medal from the King of England. Commissioned Rear Admiral in 1903, he retired in 1906. He died in 1910.
Journal belonging to Bowman Hendry McCalla dating from the Spanish-American War. The journal outlines his command on Marblehead from Sept. 1897 to Nov. 1897. The journal is dedicated to his wife and contains a full description of his activities aboard as well as the men in his command, as well as some reference to his earlier court-martial and his command of Enterprise. The journal is continued over four volumes. The journal continues through 1899, when McCalla was commander of the Newark (he was promoted to a captaincy in 1898). The collection also includes: printed reports about a cable-cutting operation performed by the crew of Marblehead in 1989; recommendations for medals of honor related to that operation; a 1903 invitation to the dedication of the Champlain Monument; and a printed volume Inauguration du Monument Camplain A Quebec le 21 Septembre 1989 (published 1902), inscribed to Admiral McCalla by Alexandre Chauveau, President of the Champlain Monument Committee.